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Greenpeace Releases Shocking Whistleblower Tuna Fish Footage; 'Obscene Waste Of Ocean Life'

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AUCKLAND, New Zealand -- Greenpeace today released shocking footage and images of whales and a marlin and ray dying at the hands of industrial tuna fishers in the Pacific Ocean.

The footage was shot by a New Zealand helicopter pilot turned whistleblower, who undertook aerial reconnaissance for a small fleet of tuna boats in the Pacific in 2009. To protect the pilot from reprisals Greenpeace has disguised his identity.

Filming secretly the pilot documented marine life being hauled on deck dead or dying, after being caught in purse seine nets set around fish aggregation devices (FADs). FADs are used by the fishing industry to attract tuna, however they also attract a whole range of other marine life – like the whales shown in the footage – which is then scooped up by fishing nets. The unwanted species are collectively described by the industry as bycatch.

"Kiwis will be outraged by the obscene waste of ocean life shown in this footage. This is the same destructive fishing method used by the fishing fleets that supply Sealord, New Zealand's biggest canned tuna brand," says Greenpeace New Zealand oceans campaigner Karli Thomas.

According to information circulated by Sealord, 'bycatch in FAD-based tuna fisheries is made up of other fish, sharks and rays, averaging about 5% of the total catch". In addition, this method of fishing also results in substantial catches of undersized tuna. "This can represent from 15-20% of a purse seine FAD set catch.' (2)

Due to the huge volumes of tuna caught in the Pacific these bycatch rates equate to shameful amounts of marine species being killed.

Thomas continues, "About 200,000 tonnes of this bycatch is caught annually by the global tuna industry's destructive practices. That's the equivalent of more than one billion cans of bycatch needlessly destroyed every year (3).

Greenpeace launched a campaign in April urging New Zealand's five main tuna brands to stop sourcing tuna caught using the combination of FADs and purse seine nets. Soon after Foodstuffs announced most of its Pams brand tuna would be sourced from pole and line or FAD-free fisheries by the end of the 2011 (4). Foodstuffs has confirmed FAD free tuna is now available in its South Island and Wellington supermarkets and will soon be on sale in the Auckland region (5). Last month Greenseas, owned by Heinz in Australia, committed to phase out FAD caught tuna by 2015 (6).

"As New Zealand's largest supplier of canned tuna Sealord should be ashamed to be involved with unsustainable tuna fishing. While Sealord defends indiscriminate FAD fishing their competitor Pams has become a market leader in tuna sustainability in New Zealand by switching to FAD-free and pole and line caught tuna," says Thomas.

"Banning FADs in purse seine fisheries is an important step towards protecting the Pacific from destructive tuna fishing which is threatening tuna stocks and the region's food security and economic prosperity."

1) The video can be viewed here: <a href=" (2) Page 10 ISSF report

(3) 202,782.3 tonnes of bycatch. This would fill 1,096 million 185g cans. Calculation based on the FAO estimates that total purse seine catches were 2.607.201 MT in 2007. 70% FAD with 10% bycatch. Greenpeace International, ‘A Growing FAD’: Kobe-II Bycatch Workshop, Brisbane 23-25 June 2010.

(4)–media/foodstuffs-hooks-sustainable-tuna-for-world-ocean-day (5) Antoinette Shallue, Foodstuffs PR, 09 621 0980


Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

16 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

become vegetarians do not kill it is a sin to kill iam a vegetarian so i think i do have some right to say killing is a great sin our body system is created by the almighty to consume only vegetarian food stuffs .may god bless you .thanks.
   comment# 1   - subrasamy · malasia · Nov 16, 2011 @ 10:07pm

i am so disgusted and flabbergasted that i really don't know what to say, except that the wanton disregard for the marine life that is (don't know how to say it any differently) being murdered is more than tragic. not to be naive, but aren't there laws against this destruction of life?
   comment# 2   - Lynn Roebuck · Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 3:31am

it's just one horror story after another. not to be naive but isn't the mindless killing of intelligent marine life against the law? can't something be done? i thought new zealand was more progressive and aware that we are in the states. shame!
   comment# 3   - Lynn Roebcuk · Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 3:44am

   comment# 4   - Dorothy McTiernan · Homestead, FLorida, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 5:55am

Well, no more tuna for me!
   comment# 5   - Mary Wiulder · Sainbt Johnsville N.Y. USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 7:14am

I too am going to swear off's not worth having it if that's what it costs...wonder what God thinks of the way we treat all the beautful things he gave us on this planet. All the other wild creatures in the world only kill to eat. We are the only ones that wipe out so much life without giving any thought to the miracles that went into creating each and every one of them. They should just do like they do with the striped bass...can't sell it in stores or restaurants...if you want to eat one, you have to go out and catch it yourself. As for the unemployed fisherman that would result in, I hope they starve to death.
   comment# 6   - Julie Keeney · Fresno, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 8:52am

Our navy should sink these ships with extreme prejudice!
   comment# 7   - kevin stonerock · bradford,Ohio. USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 9:24am

I'm so disgusted with man and their greed. In response to the previous comment I don't really think New Zealand condones this mindless killing of marine life.
   comment# 8   - cece · Tallmadge, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 9:54am

As a member of Greenpeace, I applaud the courage of the people who protect the global environment. It is a shame that we have to go to extremes to get real footage of outrages actions by greedy corporations (individuals). Make no mistake, if we don't protect other species, we are actually destroying ourselves, that is, humanity.
   comment# 9   - Gloria Susana · Irvine, California · Nov 17, 2011 @ 9:57am

okay. subrasamy. it is not a 'sin' to kill animals. maybe it's a sin to kill excessively without need and control. iono what religion you're basing it off of, but let's just say you're referring to christianity. but being extremist and saying "Ohh everyone should be vegetarians and we shouldn't kill animals, is total bull scat and ignorant. killing without need should and is a crime, but saying it's a sin just goes beyond your authority.
   comment# 10   - bobcratchit · austin, USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 10:31am

Have you ever heard of the web site called It is a site geard twords change. If there is a situation you don't like here is a way to organize and do something about it. I agree. I am totally sickened and discusted. I never go to zoos for the same reason. I don't find it entertaining to see a magnificent animal like a lion caged. My idea of a zoo ir an African safari where the animals are free to roam at will and not caged. I have spent some time homeless in California and I was exposed to snakes and other wild life what it taght me was that it is possible to live among wild creatures and not get bit or harmed. The oceans are something we need to help. I for one welcome change.This is something to use the website about . Definately!I am done with just talking and no action. We must do what we can while we can. Another terrible wrong is oil spills. There is no excuse in my book. Period!
   comment# 11   - Linda Harris · Duluth Minnesota · Nov 17, 2011 @ 11:21am

Way more thought has to go into how we as a Species are harvesting every other Species. If a pragmatic Conservation Initiative isn't put forth in the next 5-10 years we will have resort to fish farming. The worlds Oceans can not sustain the pressure being put forth by the Corporate Fishing Machine. 90% of all the world's Sharks have been slaughtered for their FINS! To make Bloody Shark Fin Soup!!! WTF is wrong with the Asian/Oriental community. On a recent trip to China nearly every place we visited was selling Shark Fin Soup, and we were amazed and appalled their stupidity. I don't care what it tastes like, no SFS for me. If won't take long SFS will a soup of the past. I get so pissed when I read a story like this, thanks for posting it. And never give up the Fight. RATM
   comment# 12   - Lars Tullrich · Ann Arbor, Michigan USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 4:37pm

i m a sport fisherman and ilove the sport catch and release but only take what u need and use just dont kill for profit or the pleasure of it its a wonderfull world just remember we were created not to rule the world but share it
   comment# 13   - merle · u.s.a · Nov 17, 2011 @ 5:13pm

Unfortunatly there are very few laws protecting marine life in any body of water.I agree with Linda,its about time we all get involved! The simple fact is every injustice that is done to Any marine life is about money.Thats buisness. So if we want things to change,we must stop giving our money to companys and countries that condone torture and murder.Case in point - Canada.Baby Seals are killed in mass quantities every year by fishing companys.They pay people to literally walk up to every baby seal they can find and bash them over the head with clubs(sorta like b.bats)until they are a bloody dead mess.Check out for more info! Please help the worlds animals any way you can whether big or small,it all counts.
   comment# 14   - Elizabeth · canandaigua, NY · Nov 17, 2011 @ 5:32pm

I recall when tuna fishers were forced to abandon some of their more wanton 'who-cares?' fishing practices in the '80's when they were caught red-hand slaughtering tens of thousands of dolphins. (Remeber Lethal Weapon 2? "Daddy! STOP!We're boycotting tuna! They kill Flipper!!!") The resulting worldwide boycott forced fishermen & compnto abandon the use of that technique. [For those who wonder if the outcome will generally benefit consumers, note that the price of tune dropped by over 50% before the last boycott ended.] Considering whales and sharks are close to extinction and the tuna population has dropped to dangerously low levels there's no doubt another boycott of tuna is needed.
   comment# 15   - Logikal1 · Cleveland, Oh USA · Nov 17, 2011 @ 8:40pm

Sustainability will only happen when Governments sanction these industries profusely! I have been hearing these problems infesting our waters since an undergrad. in the 90's. Political pressures are the only way to curb these atrocities from continuing! Corrupt Governments or those disengaged in these issues are the real danger here!
   comment# 16   - ALICE · USA · Feb 12, 2013 @ 6:17am
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